Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Education and Sports Ministry has responded to parliament’s handling of a query on the construction of Akii-Bua Olympic stadium, insisting they disbursed all monies to local government.
Early this week, the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise-COSASE detained Lamex Omara Apitta, the Commissioner Physical education under the Education and Sports Ministry for alleged mismanagement of the money advanced for the stadium works.
Before he was handed over to police, Omara told COSASE that government had disbursed sh665 million to Lira for the construction.
But Lira Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Tivu told URN a day later that they had only received sh300 million that they spent on clearing the 12-acre, site which involved uprooting trees, leveling the ground, opening boundaries and access roads, draining the swamp, construction of a pit latrine and the 200-seater pavilion.
However, the Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, Andrew Kibenge, insists they disbursed sh665 million to Lira district. He explains that the ministry channeled sh400 million to Lira district local government in the 2015/2016 financial year, sh175M in the 2016/2017 financial year and sh90M in the 2017/2018 financial year. Kibenge says there could have been an information gap but their records show that Lira district received sh665million.
He explains that Lira district asked for sh665 million for opening the boundaries of the land earmarked to host the facility, clear and level the field of 18.455 hectares, construction of access roads and drainage channels.
Kabenge insisted work has been progressing well except for the misinformation about the alleged misuse of the funds. “Demarcation of two temporary football fields, a basketball and volleyball field, construction of a 3 stance latrine and a 150-seater temporary pavilion has been made,” Kibenge told URN in an interview.
The Lira Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Tivu, has since backtracked on his earlier claims that they only received sh300million. In his October 30th letter to the Permanent Secretary, Tivu confirms having received sh665M. He also attached copies of audited payment vouchers on the letter detailing how the money was spent.
“It is important to note that all activities were implemented as planned based on the funding received and there was no audit queries raised as far as the implementation were concerned,” reads the letter. He explains that they need an additional Ssh260M for the construction of changing rooms, guest pavilion and also installing culverts.
Lamex Omara, the Commissioner Physical Education in the Education Ministry, says only sh80M was used to construct the pavilion at the stadium, while sh150M went to survey the land, bush clearing, leveling, demarcation and grading the hardcore surface.
He explains that another sh120 million was spent on paying compensation for the land, graveling, marrum works, draining the swamp, planting grass and selected trees. Omara says most the preliminary work went towards preparation of the site and not construction.
According to the original plan of the stadium, it is expected to cost $47million (about sg175bn). Once completed, the stadium is expected to come second to the Mandela National Stadium.
“The money is supposed to come from China, and the Ministry of Finance and planning and the Office of the Prime minister are looking at this. If it is to be the stadium that people expect it cannot just cost sh600M,” Omara said.